Leonard Pope   TE   Georgia


Leonard is as big and athletic as you can get for a TE at any level.  He shows really strong hands that he uses well in both catching the ball and blocking.  He shows good speed and excellent "run after catch" abilities.  He breaks tackles because of his long strides and gets separation not with quickness, but because of his footwork.  His first step after a cut is so large, it takes two or three steps to catch up to him and by then, he's into his second stride.  The upside to this kid's game is enormous. 


Needs to Improve

Leonard has a lot to learn.  The first problem I see is that when he run blocks, he lunges and forgets to move his feet.  I have no doubt that whatever skills Leonard needs to learn and areas in which he needs to improve, he will accomplish.  He is also a junior; sometimes the first two years are hard to adjust to off the field.  He has to watch out for that, also.  Leonard, this is the pro's and it's time to work for your money. 


Talent Board Round   1

There is no one in this draft that has a better upside potential to his game than this kid.  Leonard’s potential to impact at the next level is as big as Vince Young’s or Reggie Bush’s or anyone else you want to talk about.  The difference is that those other players’ potential is out there for everyone to see; Leonard’s potential has just started to show.  Leonard has the talent to re-define the TE position, but the big question is:  Does he have the burning desire?  I don't question Leonard's toughness or talent, but I do question his desire to be the best.  This will have to be answered by Leonard --not by me and not by a profile.  He's young and as soon as he realizes the responsibility that will be thrust upon him by being a top pick in this draft, maybe it will all kick in.  Leonard doesn't strike me as an immature kid, just a kid that is still young and needs to have the aggression button turned on.  As soon as he learns to turn that button on for himself, the sky is the limit with this kid.  I don't believe you are taking a chance by drafting Leonard in the first round because he'll be an excellent TE at the next level in a few years and worthy of a 1st round pick.  If someone can turn on that aggression button and he gains confidence, you just might have drafted one of the best players in this draft.  In the future, we all might be greeting him and kissing his Super Bowl ring.
by Drew Boylhart


January 2006